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Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

1 posted on 04/15/2004 9:43:41 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

2 posted on 04/15/2004 9:46:18 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran: Rethinking The Alliance

April 16, 2004
by Dariush Shirazi

Many on the left, most visibly Presidential contender John Kerry, often claim that the "coalition of the willing" is weak and that participation from the international community has been minimal if anything. Opponents of President Bush use such claims in order to discredit the legitimacy of this noble endeavor for freedom. It may not be such a bad idea to look at the state of our coalition, not in an effort to attack President Bush, but rather to conduct a healthy reassessment and critique of the coalition and our allies.

11 days ago, Michael Rubin returned from the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, and upon his return resigned from the Pentagon. In recent weeks Mr. Rubin has expressed his views regarding the region, most notably illustrating the many links between the Islamic clerical regime in Iran and much of the violence that has broken out across Iraq, evident in the actions of Al Sadr and his fanatical brigade who have reportedly received millions of dollars in funding from the mullahs in Iran.

An article published in the Telegraph of London yesterday quoted Mr. Rubin's sentiments that "British officials clearly had little interest in pursuing the White House vision of a democratic Iraq, a keystone of its foreign policy, and were too 'soft' in confronting dissent." The article goes on to say that "many US officials had been startled at their British counterparts' attempts to capitalize on their presence in southern Iraq for a 'freelance' fostering of ties with Iran, one of Washington's most implacable enemies." The article also discusses the tension between Paul Bremer and his British counterpart, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, by quoting a provisional authority insider who said, "There was an understanding in the CPA that Bremer and Greenstock didn't like each other. It personified the differences between the two views. Greenstock thought Bremer was naive; Bremer thought Greenstock was pursuing the wrong policies."

It is no big surprise to many who have followed the region's history and the mullahcracy's economic ties with nations who proclaim to be supporters in the War on Terror, that such concerns are now gaining visibility. Because we cannot continue to escape the truth by thinking of this historic conflict in the same superficial light the media shines on it, we are obliged to look carefully at the fact that the British government has been a staunch supporter of the regime in Iran since the early days of the Islamic Republic, although this relationship has scarcely been mentioned until now. Mr. Rubin's statements represent some of the first high-level public acknowledgments of this worrisome arrangement.

Michael Rubin's resignation is not the first of its kind. Richard Perle, a strong supporter of freedom throughout the Middle East, resigned from the Defense Policy Board in February. These resignations and statements that have recently surfaced all raise the question: are the so-called "neocons", or those who believe in America's duty to nurture and defend freedom throughout the world, including Iran, unhappy with the direction in which the Bush administration is now headed, and is it perhaps even plausible to suggest that the ideology of the Richard Armitage/Colin Powell types, who believe Iran is a "sort-of" democracy, gaining ground?

We cannot forget that the the British have contributed around 10,000 troops to the Iraqi theater, but as Americans, should we really be thankful? British deployments have been exclusively located in regions of Iraq that have been uncannily stable since the fall of Saddam's regime, a region that is also heavily Shiite. Dozens of reports have been issued that explain the influx of Islamic-regime sponsored agents and clerics since the US invasion, but why aren't British forces who occupy Shiite regions in southeastern Iraq, an ideological safe haven and staging ground for the Mullah's agents, experiencing the same sort of turbulence that American soldiers are experiencing elsewhere? Of course these are all questions, but they are questions that need to be asked, because if it is determined that there is some correlation between resistance that certain coalition forces (American soldiers) are facing and British trade agreements with Iran, then perhaps the United States should ask the Mullahs to bestow similar kindness to American forces.

Considering the importance of this momentous effort to free the people of the Middle East (both Arabs and Persians), it is critical that the allies of liberty, human rights and justice all have the same goals and objectives in mind, because in the end there is only one kind of freedom. If it is discovered to be the case that a particular ally has objectives that are not in alignment with ours, then it is better we address this problem sooner rather than later, before we reach the point of no return.

Forward-thinking analysts and intellectuals rightfully believe that in order for Iraq to stabilize and institutions of freedom and justice to succeed, the regime in Iran must fall. A free and democratic Iraq would be a major blow to the Mullahs, which would likely result in an overthrow of the regime, and the only thing the Mullahs fear more than an all out military assault against their nuclear sites is the overthrow of their illegitimate mafia rule. They will use all means available to prevent such a scenario; they will continue to stir unrest throughout Iraq, with hopes that democracy will not rise and President Bush will not be re-elected.

Ultimately, the question we should be demanding that the Bush Administration, Congress and Senate ask themselves is: if the British have close economic ties and relationships with the regime in Iran, but are also part of the coalition to bring freedom to the peoples of the region, does such an arrangement signify a conflict of interest, and if it does, how should such a conflict be resolved? As the battle wages, the only “wrong policy” is to accuse the United States of being "naive" in our struggle to bring freedom to those who shed tears of blood as they await their liberation.

Dariush Shirazi

Dariush Shirazi is a pseudonym of an Iranian-American university student and Los Angeles-based freelance journalist.

http://mensnewsdaily.com/archive/s/shirazi/04/shirazi041604.htm
3 posted on 04/15/2004 9:50:04 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran’s Diplomatic Mission to Najaf Called Inappropriate

New York Sun - By Eli Lake
Apr 16, 2004

WASHINGTON — The State Department yesterday said it was inappropriate for an Iranian diplomatic delegation to travel to Najaf in an effort to broker a solution to the standoff between American allies and outlaw cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The comments highlight the tightrope America is walking in its Iran policy.

President Bush has labeled Iran part of the “axis of evil,” and some members of Congress want a harder American line against the regime in Tehran. Meanwhile, the Bush administration has pursued a not-so-private policy of negotiating with the Iranians.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters yesterday that an American diplomat had attended a meeting between Iranian and British diplomats in Baghdad this week to stress the importance “for Iranian policy to be constructive and not destructive.” But he added that the American diplomat also said it was not “appropriate” for this delegation to attempt to mediate the Najaf standoff.

On Wednesday Iranian diplomats said, and American officials confirmed, that they had been approached indirectly through Swiss and British diplomats from the Americans to help stabilize the unrest in Iraq.Yesterday a high-ranking Iranian diplomat in Baghdad, Khalil Naimi, the first secretary of the Iranian Embassy, was shot in the head in his car near the embassy.

Iranian foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi said his government had talks with America on Iraq. “Currently it has stopped because we felt we were going nowhere. The Americans give promises but don’t keep their promises. Currently, they are taking a wrong path,” Mr. Kharrazi said, according to the Associated Press.

As the manhunt for Mr. al-Sadr goes into its second week, the coalition has tried to send numerous envoys to his hideout in Najaf to get the 32-year old cleric to turn himself in.

An Iranian delegation arrived yesterday in Najaf to try to end the standoff. At the same time, a report in al-Hayat quoting a recently defected Iranian intelligence officer said that elements of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard have long funded Mr. al-Sadr’s militia and organization.

“Iran clearly helped create this fire. If they are of any value in putting it out it will be at a very high price,” Rep. Brad Sherman, a Democrat from California, told The New York Sun yesterday. “Before we had public fire departments, it was not terribly unusual for someone to set a fire and then charge you for putting it out.”

Mr. Sherman has been one of the main House sponsors of legislation to fund democrats in Iran and to require America to veto World Bank loans to Iran.

The assessment of Iran’s role in the current uprising was mixed this week from the chief of the Pentagon’s Central Command, General John Abizaid. He called Iranian activities in Iraq “unhelpful,” but he also said, “With regard to the Iranians, there are elements within Iran that are urging patience and calm and trying to limit the influence of Mr. al-Sadr. So it’s a complicated situation. But what we need is all of the nations around Iraq to participate in calming the situation and assisting with a sovereign and stable government emerging.”

The deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Patrick Clawson, told the Sun yesterday, “The Iranians are simultaneously pursuing several different policy angles.” He said the Iranians were “providing al-Sadr support, but providing more support to their traditional Shiite allies in the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.”

The council is one of the largest political parties represented on the 25 person Iraqi Governing Council and some of its members are heading key Iraqi ministries in the transitional government. The Iraqi Governing Council in November signed a series of trade and security agreements with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The chief of the coalition provisional authority, L. Paul Bremer, approved travel between Baghdad and Tehran this fall for a large delegation to discuss areas of mutual cooperation.

The Iran-Iraq border is also not routinely monitored by American soldiers and remains very porous.

“I think the Islamic Republic has been giving a hard time to the forces who are fighting against terror. Iran is trying to use the turmoil that it created to try to show a good face and surf on the wave of the American opinion in an election year,” a spokesman for the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran, Aryo Pirooznia, told the Sun yesterday. Mr. Pirooznia’s organization has worked in opposition to the current regime in Tehran.

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_5755.shtml
8 posted on 04/15/2004 10:05:19 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
THE IRAN FACTOR

The NY Post
April 16th, 2004
By ILAN BERMAN

AN Iranian delegation is now in Baghdad, supposedly to help talk down the firebrand Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his radical "al-Mahdi Army." The strange thing is, Iran is the chief culprit among the outside players behind much of Iraq's current instability.

U.S. officials have long expressed concerns about the Islamic Republic's corrosive activities in Iraq, ranging from drug trafficking to the funding of radical clerics. But recent revelations have exposed an Iranian strategic offensive of unprecedented magnitude - one aimed at preventing the establishment of a secular, pro-Western government in its eastern neighbor.

In a recent interview with the influential Arab-language daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat, a former Iranian official revealed that Tehran has successfully infiltrated hundreds of operatives from its clerical army, the Pasdaran, into Iraq via Kurdish areas not yet firmly under the control of the Iraqi Governing Council.

Since then, the official said, Iranian agents - including members of the Pasdaran's feared paramilitary "Qods Corps" - have established a major presence throughout the country, where they have begun active recruitment, propaganda and insurgency operations.

These activities include the formation of a cadre of radicalized Iraqi youth who will be mobilized during the country's upcoming parliamentary elections, as well as the targeting and elimination of prominent opposition leaders. Most notably, he credits the "Qods Corps" with the assassination of the Ayatollah Mohammad Bakr al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, who was killed in Najaf last August in an attack previously believed to have been carried out by Ba'athist loyalists.

An insurgency of this magnitude does not come cheap: According to that same interview, Tehran is now spending some $70 million a month on its Iraq operations. The money pays off friendly Iraqi clerics, who provide indoctrination and religious legitimacy for a ready cadre of radical young Shi'a, and maintains an extensive network of safe-houses and bases for Iranian agents throughout the country.

The Al-Sharq al-Awsat interview was a blockbuster, but its claims - with the exception of the $70 million figure and the Hakim killing - are confirmed by other sources.

Iraq's political vacuum has also drawn other undesirable characters. Iraqis say both Hezbollah (the Iranian-backed, Lebanon-based Shi'ite militia) and Hamas (the Palestinian terrorist group) have begun to put down roots in post-Saddam Iraq through the establishment of recruitment bases and offices in urban centers like Nasariah, Basra and Safwan.

Syria, meanwhile, has played an important supporting role, expanding the capabilities of both groups through ongoing financial and political assistance. U.S. officials also suspect that, despite its public denials (and mounting pressure from Washington), Damascus is still permitting foreign fighters to enter Iraq via the Syrian-Iraqi border. Even militants from groups as distant as Pakistan's Lashkar e-Taiba have recently been captured within the country.

The reasons for this foreign meddling are not hard to fathom. Iran, already grappling with a restive, disenfranchised domestic population, is eager to avoid having a "bad" example - a secular, pro-Western regime - emerge next door.

As for Syria, the world's only remaining Ba'athist state has good reason to want to preserve the vitality of its sister regime's nationalist opposition, both as a hedge against mounting international attention and to prevent a spillover of the political empowerment of Iraq's minorities on its own Kurdish population.

More broadly, both countries - and the groups working with them - fear that American efforts in the war on terrorism might decisively alter the region's turbulent status quo, and not in their favor.

With the deadline for a U.S. transfer of sovereignty to the emerging Iraqi government drawing closer, and with election-year mudslinging well underway in Washington, quelling Iraq's instability is rapidly emerging as an overriding priority for the Bush administration.

But so too should be the realization that the recipe for long-term stability in Iraq rests in taking up the thorny issue of external influence - and in unequivocally demonstrating to regional rogues that their troublemaking carries real consequences.

Ilan Berman is vice president for policy at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington.

http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/18874.htm
9 posted on 04/16/2004 1:48:56 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" sKerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: DoctorZIn
Shia Leader Draws 'Red Line' Round Najaf

April 16, 2004
The Guardian
Julian Borger, Justin McCurry and Agencies

Iraq's most powerful Shia spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, warned the United States against entering the holy city of Najaf in pursuit of his militant rival, Moqtada al-Sadr, it was reported yesterday.

A senior Shia source told Reuters that Ayatollah Sistani had declared Najaf a "red line".

The warning came as 2,500 US troops gathered around the central Iraqi city in pursuit of Mr Sadr and his Mahdi militia. It is significant because that US incursions into the holy city would unite Shia factions, and possibly spark a broader uprising among Iraq's majority population.

The sensitivity of the situation appeared to have been taken on board by the US military and General Richard Myers, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said talks were under way to try to avoid a bloodbath in Najaf.

General Myers, on a visit to Baghdad, said the US admin istrator Paul Bremer was using "multiple channels" in the negotiations to resolve the situation both there and in Falluja, where more than 700 Iraqis have died.

The stand-off around Najaf came during a day of violence in Iraq, alleviated only by the release of three Japanese hostages who had been threatened with being burned alive by their captors.

Only hours earlier, Italian security guard Fabrizio Quattrocchi was shown to have been executed by hostage takers. Film of the execution was sent to the Qatar-based television station al-Jazeera.

In Baghdad, an Iranian diplomat was assassinated only a day after Tehran revealed the US had asked for its help in defusing violence in Shia areas. Khalil Naimi, first deputy at the embassy in Baghdad, was shot dead near the Iranian embassy in the Salhiya neighbourhood.

In the face of a rapidly deteriorating situation, the defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that over 20,000 US troops would have to stay in Iraq three months longer than expected, breaking an earlier pledge that combat tours would not last over a year. The decision kept the US troop level in Iraq at 135,000. It had been due to drop to 115,000.

The announcement came as the coalition struggled to resolve the international hostage crisis. The release unharmed of the three Japanese hostages brought to an end a week of anguish for their families and relieved the pressure on the Japanese prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi.

Joy at their release was tempered by unconfirmed reports that two more Japanese were kidnapped in Iraq yesterday. The Japanese media named the hostages as Jumpei Yasuda, a freelance journalist, and Nobutaka Watanabe, a former Japanese soldier now working for an anti-war group.

The families were addressing a press conference in Tokyo when news came through of the release. Moments later they hugged and jumped for joy as al-Jazeera footage showed the former captives meeting Sunni cleric Abdul Salam al-Kubaisi. Takashi Imai, father of 18-year-old Noriaki Imai, who had been collecting material for a picture book on Iraqi children harmed by depleted uranium shells, fell to his knees and buried his head in his hands when his son appeared on television.

"Until I saw her on television, I couldn't believe it was true," said Ayako Inoue, whose sister, Nahoko Takato, had been working with Iraqi street children.

In a call from the embassy in Baghdad, the third hostage, freelance photographer Soichiro Koriyama, told his mother he wanted to stay on in Iraq to take photographs "as an expression of my gratitude", Kyodo news agency reported.

Mr Koizumi refused to bow to the captors' "despicable" demands, despite pleas from the hostages' families and daily demonstrations in Tokyo.

The first of three Russian planes sent to evacuate 365 citizens of ex-Soviet states left Baghdad yesterday following the kidnapping and release of three Russians and five Ukrainians in Baghdad earlier this week.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1193033,00.html
12 posted on 04/16/2004 9:10:21 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Supporting Iraqi Radicals, Arab Dailies Say

April 16, 2004
The Washington Times
Jay Bushinsky

JERUSALEM -- Iran is training and committing funds to Shi'ite radicals in Iraq even as it helps the United States to tamp down the latest anti-American insurgency, according to Arabic-language news reports.

A delegation headed by senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official Hussein Sedeqi arrived yesterday in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf to try to negotiate an end to resistance from the radical Shi'ite militia headed by Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr.

But Iran, meanwhile, has maintained three "military camps and training centers" on the Iran-Iraq border used by members of Sheik al-Sadr's Mahdi's Army, according to the daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat (the Middle East).

The London newspaper, which last year was given an exclusive interview with President Bush, reported recently that 800 to 1,200 trainees have been taught guerrilla tactics at the camps as well as bomb-making, use of small arms and espionage.

Another London-based Arabic daily, Al Hayat, reported that Iran has engaged in "a vigorous effort to build bridges to various forces in Iraq," according to the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which translates Arabic news articles into English.

These efforts include "material and logistical aid to parties other than the Shi'ites" as well as "the traditional Iranian influence in Iraq's Shi'ite religious seminaries and in its Marja'iya [religious] institutions," according to the article.

It quoted Iraqi security sources as saying the recent Shi'ite offensive began after a U.S. decision to oust Hassan Kazemi Qumi, the charge d'affairs at the Iran Embassy in Baghdad.

The Washington Times last week described Sheik al-Sadr, who sent his 3,000-strong force to capture several towns and cities across southern Iraq, as an Iranian surrogate.

That assessment was endorsed unequivocally by authoritative Israeli analysts in interviews this week.

Menashe Amir, the head of the Israel Broadcasting Authority's Persian language service, said Tehran's purpose was to "convince the Americans that their objectives will not be achieved unless they turn to Iran for help."

Yigal Carmon, who served as a counterterror adviser to former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, said the Iranians "are worried that the date set for Iraqi independence, June 30, is drawing near."

Mr. Carmon, now director of MEMRI's Jerusalem office, said he believes Iran wants the future Iraq to be a dependent neighbor rather than a self-reliant American-backed democracy.

Above all, the consensus in Israel is that the Iranians shudder at the prospect of Iraq having U.S. military bases on its soil for a long time to come.

Mr. Amir, who came to Israel from Iran shortly before the Iranian revolution of 1978-79, said Sheik al-Sadr visited Tehran eight months ago "and returned to Iraq with a suitcase full of money."

He attributed this information to the sources he retains inside the land of his birth.

Al-Sharq al-Awsat similarly quoted a former Iranian intelligence officer saying Iran has been spending $70 million a month to finance its activities in Iraq.

The newspaper said it had learned from the former officer, identified only as Haj Sa'idi, that Iranian agents are deployed throughout Iraq and that elements of Iran's Revolutionary Guards were in the country before the war started a year ago.

Included among them are former Iraqi refugees who were expelled to Iran by Saddam Hussein in the 1970s and 1980s, the newspaper said. They were believed to have infiltrated through Kurdish areas beyond the control of the pre-war Ba'athist regime.

Mr. Sa'idi contended that Iran seeks to recruit thousands of young Shi'ites committed to making Iraq a clerical state, like Iran.

The next phase of this effort will occur when Iraq's parliamentary elections are held next January, he said, adding that recruits are supposed to enlist their relatives to vote for candidates who will have the covert endorsement of Iranian intelligence.

http://www.washtimes.com/world/20040415-105756-4915r.htm
13 posted on 04/16/2004 9:11:25 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Envoy Assassinated

April 16, 2004
The Washington Times
Willis Witter

BAGHDAD -- Iranian diplomats traveled to the holy city of Najaf yesterday to help mediate a U.S. military standoff with an armed militia led by radical Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr just as gunmen killed an Iranian diplomat in Baghdad.

The Iranian official was fatally shot as he arrived for work at the embassy in Baghdad.

As yesterday's morning rush hour wound down, the bullet-riddled body of Khalil Naimi, first secretary at the Iranian Embassy, was found slumped over the wheel of his car, which had run into a pole.

It was not clear whether the two events were related.

A recent spate of kidnappings and murders of foreigners by militant Islamist groups has prompted an exodus by private contractors, aid workers, journalists and potential investors.

In the Sunni Muslim-dominated area west of Baghdad, one eyewitness said he saw an explosion at a mosque about 10 miles north of Fallujah.

Fighting in the area has been intense, despite a week-old cease-fire and attempts by local clerics and Iraqis close to the United States to end the standoff.

Residents said mosques had broadcast loudspeaker appeals for police to return to duty and some had responded.

Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned that the talks would not be indefinite.

"I think we have to be prepared — that there may be further military action in Fallujah," he said.

Marines went on the offensive in Fallujah after the killings and mutilation of four Americans under contract to provide security services in Iraq.

Gen. Myers said "multiple channels," including "groups without official status," are being used in an effort to stop the fighting.

About 2,400 Marines have been fighting in Fallujah for nearly two weeks and 2,500 U.S. forces are poised to attack Najaf to arrest or kill Sheik al-Sadr and destroy his armed militia, known as Mahdi's Army.

His militia seized control of police stations and government buildings in three Shi'ite cities, including Najaf, a week ago.

Iraq's most influential cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, has persuaded Sheik al-Sadr to give up control of the cities.

But militiamen in Najaf prepared for battle yesterday by taking up positions in buildings on the outskirts of the city, said Col. Dana J.H. Pittard, head of the U.S. troops amassed outside the city.

Meanwhile, three Japanese hostages — two men and a woman — were freed yesterday. They were handed over by their captors to a Sunni organization in Baghdad, which has been facilitating hostage releases and were taken to the Japanese Embassy.

There was no word on two other Japanese civilians, who have been reported missing near Baghdad.

Harith al-Dari, a leader of the Sunni organization, the Muslim Clerics Association, said the group had no direct links with the kidnappers and was seeking the release of all foreign civilian hostages.

Iranian envoy Hussein Sadeqi headed to Najaf yesterday, after meetings Wednesday with Massoud Barzani, a Kurdish leader who is the current president of the Iraqi Governing Council.

Also yesterday, three Russian planes were sent to evacuate 366 citizens of Russia and Ukraine, including those who were kidnapped and released earlier this week. The abducted were three Russians and five Ukrainians.

The wave of abductions — at least 19 persons remain unaccounted for — has sent a chill through foreigners in Iraq.

A French television journalist who was freed late Wednesday after four days in captivity told the Associated Press he repeatedly was interrogated by kidnappers who demanded to know whether he was an Israeli spy. He proved he was French by drawing a map of France, a nation insurgents look on more favorably because it has not joined the U.S.-led coalition.

Reports by a leading Polish newspaper in Warsaw said yesterday Polish military officials responsible for security in part of southern Iraq are arguing against taking Sheik al-Sadr by force in Najaf.

"Going into Najaf will be a disaster, it will make the main Shi'ite leaders turn away from us," Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper quoted a senior diplomatic source as saying. "If Sadr gives up on violence, we should be talking with him. We want to talk with anyone in Iraq who doesn't shoot at us."

Poland, a staunch ally of the United States, has 2,400 troops in Iraq and leads a multinational force based in Karbala in the Shi'ite-dominated south-central zone of the country.

Yesterday, Polish forces in Iraq said they were blindsided by the violence from Sheik al-Sadr's followers, because U.S. officials did not warn them of actions that triggered the bloodshed.

Lt. Col. Robert Strzelecki, a spokesman for the Poles, said the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority did not inform the multinational division in advance of a decision to shut down a newspaper associated with Sheik al-Sadr or about the detention of a key lieutenant to the Shi'ite cleric.

Asked whether there was a difference of opinion with Washington over Najaf, Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski told the newspaper: "Our currency is dialogue and understanding. We do not need new troops in Iraq, just [new] political initiatives.

http://www.washtimes.com/world/20040416-120203-3940r.htm
14 posted on 04/16/2004 9:12:11 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Not a US-Iraqi Broker

April 16, 2004
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting
IRIB

Tehran -- Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi here on Friday rejected as baseless speculations that Iran would mediate between the US and the Iraqis to resolve the crisis in the country.

"How can one mediate between the Iraqi people and the occupiers ?," Kharrazi stressed in a statement.

"The legitimate demand of the Iraqi people is that occupation forces quickly withdraw troops from Iraq." Kharrazi had earlier on Wednesday announced that the US has asked Iran to help ease tension in Iraq, stressing that Tehran and Washington had "many correspondence" through the Swiss embassy to that effect.

He had stressed that Iran would spare no effort to help improve the situation in Iraq." The best thing that the occupation forces can do is transferring power to the Iraqi people as soon as possible," the statement said.

Kharrazi said Iran cannot be indifferent toward Iraq's developments as well as the instability and the killings of the Iraqi people.

Iran on Wednesday dispatched a diplomatic delegation to Baghdad to find solutions to the critical situation in Iraq.

The five-member delegation was headed by Foreign Ministry Director General for Persian Gulf Affairs Hossein Sadeqi expected to meet with senior Iraqi religious authorities, members of the governing council and political leaders.

Kharrazi said the delegation had been sent to Iraq at Iran's initiative and was on a fact-finding mission to the country. He added that the delegation would debate the crisis with Iraq's religious and political officials, and would also caution the coalition forces about continuing the occupation.

Only hours after the delegation arrived in Baghdad, unknown assailants shot dead Khalil Na'imi, the first secretary of the Iranian embassy in Iraq, outside the embassy compounds.

http://www.iribnews.ir/Full_en.asp?news_id=202266&n=31
15 posted on 04/16/2004 9:13:28 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
The Iranian Hand

April 16, 2004
The Wall Street Journal
Michael Ledeen

Much is being made about the irony of an Iranian envoy arriving in Iraq to help negotiate a solution to the U.S. standoff with radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. How could we allow a charter member of President Bush's "Axis of Evil" to negotiate a "peace" with the thuggish Sadr and his band of fanatical militants?

Indeed, the irony is as thick as Sadr's own beard. But the fact that Iran holds sway over him and other Shiite militants in Iraq should surprise no one. Despite repeated denials by the State Department, it is an open secret throughout the Middle East that Sadr has been receiving support -- if not precise orders -- from the mullahs in Iran for some time now.

That the war being waged by Shiite militants throughout Iraq is not just a domestic "insurgency" has been documented by the Italian Military Intelligence Service (Sismi). In a report prepared before the current wave of violence, Sismi predicted "a simultaneous attack by Saddam loyalists" all over the country, along with a series of Shiite revolts.

The Italians knew that these actions were not just part of an Iraqi civil war, nor a response to recent actions taken by the Coalition Provisional Authority against the forces of Sadr. According to Italian intelligence, the actions were used as a pretext by local leaders of the factions tied to an Iran-based ayatollah, Kazem al-Haeri, who was "guided in his political and strategic choices by ultraconservative Iranian ayatollahs in order to unleash a long planned general revolt." The strategic goal of this revolt, says Sismi, was "the establishment of an Islamic government of Khomeinist inspiration." The Italian intelligence agency noted that "the presence of Iranian agents of influence and military instructors has been reported for some time." Our own government will not say as much publicly, but Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. John Abizaid, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, have recently spoken of "unhelpful actions" by Iran (and Syria).

The London-based Al-Hayat reported on April 6 that the Iraqi Governing Council was actively discussing "the major Iranian role in the events that took place in the Iraqi Shiite cities," noting that the Iranians were the predominant financiers of Sadr. Another London newspaper, Al Sharq Al-Awsat, quoted a recent Iranian intelligence defector that Iranian infiltration of Iraq started well before Operation Iraqi Freedom. Hundreds of intelligence agents were sent into Iraq through the north. After the fall of Saddam, greater numbers came across the uncontrolled border, masquerading as students, clerics and journalists -- and as religious pilgrims to the now-accessible holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.

The editor of the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Seyassah recently wrote a front-page editorial saying that Hezbollah and Hamas were working with Sadr, "backed by the ruling religious fundamentalists in Tehran and the nationalist Baathists in Damascus." No classified information was required for that claim, since Sadr himself has publicly proclaimed that his militia is the fighting arm of both Hezbollah and Hamas. Nonetheless, the State Department still doesn't believe -- or won't admit publicly -- that there's a connection between Sadr's uprising and Iran's mullahs. Just last week, State's deputy spokesman, Adam Ereli, told reporters that "We've seen reports of Iranian involvement, collusion, provocation, coordination, etc., etc. But I think there's a dearth of hard facts to back these things up."

One wonders what Foggy Bottom's analysts make of Sadr's recent visit to Iran, when he met with Hashemi Rafsanjani (the number two power in the regime), Murtadha Radha'i (head of intelligence for the Revolutionary Guards) and Brigadier General Qassim Suleimani (the al-Quds Army commander in charge of Iraqi affairs). And what might they say about the fact that much of Sadr's funding comes straight from Ayatollah al-Haeri, one of the closest allies of the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei?

Americans must understand that the war in Iraq is in reality a regional war which unites religious fanatics like the Iranians and radical secularists like the Syrians and Saddam's Iraqi supporters. The terrorists include Shiites like Sadr and murderous Sunnis like al Qaeda leader Abu Musab Zarqawi (who, despite his celebrated contempt for Shiites, has openly proclaimed common cause with Sadr).

Iraq cannot be peaceful and secure so long as Tehran sends its terrorist cadres across the border. Naturally, our troops will engage -- and kill -- any infiltrators they encounter. But we can be sure that there will be others to take their place. The only way to end Tehran's continual sponsorship of terror is to bring about the demise of the present Iranian regime. And as it happens, we have an excellent opportunity to achieve this objective, without the direct use of military power against Iran. There is a critical mass of pro-democracy citizens there, who would like nothing more than to rid themselves of their oppressors. They need help, but they neither need nor desire to be liberated by force of arms.

Above all, they want to hear our leaders state clearly and repeatedly -- as Ronald Reagan did with the "Evil Empire" -- that regime change in Iran is the goal of American policy. Thus far, they have heard conflicting statements and mealy-mouthed half truths of the sort presented by Mr. Ereli, along with astonishing proclamations, such as the one by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, in which he averred that Iran is "a democracy." (One wonders whether he will liken Muqtada al-Sadr to Patrick Henry.)

Mr. Armitage notwithstanding, we can reach the Iranian people by providing support to the several Farsi-language radio and TV stations in this country, all currently scrambling for funds to broadcast a couple of hours a day. We can encourage private foundations and individuals to support the Iranian democracy movement. The current leadership of the AFL-CIO has regrettably abandoned that organization's traditional role of supporting free trade unions inside tyrannical countries, but there are some individual unions that could do it.

This sort of political campaign aimed at toppling the Iranian regime -- allied to firm punitive action within Iraq against terrorists of all stripes -- will make our task in Iraq manifestly less dangerous. Ultimately, security in Iraq will come in large measure from freedom and reform in Iran (as well as in Syria and Saudi Arabia). This is a truth that we should not hide from, nor be fearful to take on.

Mr. Ledeen, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of "The War Against the Terror Masters" (St Martin's, 2003).

http://online.wsj.com/public/us
16 posted on 04/16/2004 9:14:14 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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21 posted on 04/16/2004 10:21:22 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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